HERMISTON — For one brief moment Tuesday night, the Hermiston Bulldogs showed their true colors.
Trailing 2-1 against Chiawana in Mid-Columbia Conference action, the Bulldogs won the third set before the Riverhawks stormed back to win the match 25-13, 25-14, 22-25, 25-10.
“They are a tall team and very disciplined,” Hermiston coach Amy Dyck said of Chiawana. “You can tell they are a seasoned team. By winning the third set, we showed when we take care of the ball, we can play with anyone. That is a mental thing.”
After dropping the first two sets, the Bulldogs were a different team in the third.
The Riverhawks held a 2-1 lead when Halee Stubbs went to the service line. The senior libero dished up three consecutive aces, then got a tip and a block from Kambree Baker for an 8-2 lead.
Chiawana (4-1 MCC) pulled even at 12-12, and the teams were tied four more times before the Bulldogs pulled away for good.
Stubbs served three more points, and Daisy Maddox added two for a 23-20 lead.
Kendall Dowdy put down a kill for set point, then combined with Baker for a block of Kylie Thorne for the 25-22 victory.
“This group doesn’t have the experience,” Chiawana coach Jim Steach said of his team that starts just three seniors. “They are still trying to figure things out. We lost energy (in the third set) and the other side got momentum and were making plays. We came out in the fourth and played real clean.”
Whatever momentum the Bulldogs (2-4 MCC) had from the third set, quickly evaporated in the fourth.
The Riverhawks jumped out to an 8-1 lead, then got a string of seven points from Sianna Iverson to take a 20-5 lead.
Hermiston managed a few more points, but the damage had been done.
“I’m glad we took a set off of them,” said Stubbs, who had 19 digs and three aces. “We proved in that set we what we are capable of. They are a really good hitting team, but our blockers are good and they stopped some of them.”
Grace Vertrees had nine kills and 14 digs for the Bulldogs, who also got 25 assists and six digs from Dowdy, eight kills and five blocks from Baker, and 14 digs from Emma Combes.
Talia von Oelhoffen, who transferred from Tri-Cities Prep over the summer, led the Riverhawks with 13 kills, while Iverson had 10 kills and 15 digs. Thorne had nine kills, and Karsyn Ecclestone 26 assists.
The Bulldogs will host Kamiakin on Thursday.